European trade unions join forces to demand Lula’s release

Monday 23 April 2018

European trade unions have joined forces to demand the immediate release of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prison in a European action day to “Free Lula”. Protests were held outside the Brazilian embassy in Brussels and a letter was delivered to the Brazilian ambassador in Brussels stating that Lula’s arbitrary imprisonment is a threat to democracy.

Trade unions in Asunción, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Jakarta, Lima, London and Rabat are also gathered at Brazilian embassies, following protests in recent days in Madrid, Montevideo, Paris, Rome and Washington, D.C.

Lula was found guilty by a lower court on the basis of no evidence, something that the lower court judges themselves have admitted. Lula is Brazil’s most popular politician by a huge margin, and European trade unions believe that the judicial persecution of him is aimed at stopping him becoming President again.

Lula’s lawyers have taken his case to the UN Human Rights Council, pointing to the blatant bias of judges and prosecutors and asking the Council to recognise that the regional court which found him guilty, Judge Sérgio Moro and the ‘Car Wash’ Federal Prosecutors have violated Lula’s rights to privacy, right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary arrest, the right to freedom of movement and right to be presumed innocent until found guilty.

Previous evidence submitted to the UNHRC focused on the leaking of confidential material to the media, the unlawful issue of a bench warrant, illegal disclosure of telephone intercepts, use of indeterminate pre-trial detention against ‘Car Wash’ suspects, obtaining plea bargains and numerous examples of the prosecutors and Judge Moro’s pronounced bias against Lula.

“This is the latest of a series of grave threats to democracy in Brazil. UNI Europa stands with Lula, the Brazilian people and their democracy,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary.

UNI America’s Regional Secretary Marcio Monzane said, “Former President Lula has been imprisoned for political reasons without any evidence he has committed a crime. UNI will continue to support workers and the trade union movement in Brazil, in their struggle to defend workers’ rights.”

“The European trade union movement stands in absolute solidarity with our Brazilian colleagues and will assist in every way we can their quest to defend democracy and reinstate the rule of law,” said ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini.

Lula and Brazil was an important discussion point at the UNI Management Committee (including UNI representatives from Latin America) last week at its Nyon head office in Switzerland. Peace and human rights is also one of the core themes of the upcoming UNI World Congress in Liverpool in June, where Brazil and Lula’s plight will occupy the two thousand UNI delegates gathered from around the world who will stand in solidarity: ‘We are Lula!’